Category Archives: CHINA

Old cannon found at the Macau construction site

Old cannon found at the Macau construction site

MACAU, CHINA— Reports that a cannon was uncovered during construction work in the Inner Harbor area of the city of Macau, which is located on coastal islands in the South China Sea.

Ming Dynasty officials leased the area to Portuguese traders in the mid-sixteenth century A.D.

The region then became a Portuguese colony in 1887 until 1999 when it was transferred to China.

Officials from the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Municipal Affairs Bureau, and the Customs Service are investigating the site and examining the cannon. 

The statement says that the cannon was dug up last afternoon during construction work for a sewer project in the Inner Harbor district, close to the car park.

The project has been temporarily suspended following the find.
According to information provided by workers at the scene, the cannon was accidentally dug out by an excavator at about 4:15 p.m.

Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) officials, as well as Customs Service and PSP officers, arrived at the scene to investigate.

The statement said the old cannon was possibly a “cultural relic.” 

This photo provided by a reader to local media outlets yesterday shows a construction worker with the old cannon dug out by an excavator on a construction site in the Inner Harbour area yesterday. 

The naturally Mummified remains of a Government official from the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) was Unearthed during Construction in central China

The naturally Mummified remains of a Government official from the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) was Unearthed during Construction in central China Henan Province

A carefully conserved Chinese mummy, found in a tomb that is 300 years old, was almost instantly destroyed once archaeologists opened the coffin – it turned black within hours of the coffin being opened.

A well-preserved mummy identified as a government official from the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912)—China’s last imperial dynasty before the creation of the Republic of China

The remains were uncovered on a construction site in a two-meter deep hole in the ground at Xiangcheng in Henan province, central China.

The individual was wearing extremely ornate clothing which indicates that he was a very high-ranking official from the early Qing Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 to 1912.

The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China before the creation of the Republic of China and the present-day boundaries of China are largely based on the territory controlled by the Qing dynasty.

Scientists are perplexed as to how the individual’s remains had stayed so well preserved in the first place, as it was found alongside other tombs in which the remains were mere skeletons.

According to Dr. Lukas Nickel, a specialist in Chinese art and archaeology at SOAS, University of London, the preservation was not intentional but happened as a result of the natural conditions around the coffin, combined with the fact that the coffin was lacquered and covered in charcoal which would have prevented bacteria getting in.

“The Chinese did not do any treatment of the body to preserve it as known from ancient Egypt, for instance,” said Dr. Nickel. “They did, however, try to protect the body by putting it into massive coffins and stable tomb chambers.”

However, Professor Dong disagrees with this theory and believes that the man’s family used some materials to preserve the body.

In early China, the physical structure of the body was important to them and there was a belief that the dead person ‘lived on’ inside their tomb.

Once the tomb was opened, the natural process of decay started. Although the man’s face was almost normal when it was found, within hours the face, as well as the skin on the whole body, turned black and a foul smell emanating from the coffin.

“What is amazing is the way time seems to be catching up on the corpse, aging hundreds of years in a day,” said Historian Dong Hsiung.

Researchers are working quickly to preserve what is left of the quickly decaying mummy. It is hoped that by studying the individual, archaeologists will gain a better understanding of how the body had remained so well preserved for three centuries.

600-Year-Old Buddha Statue Discovered In China As Reservoir Water Level Drops

600-Year-Old Buddha Statue Discovered In China As Reservoir Water Level Drops

Lower water levels in a village in eastern China led to a shocking discovery the other day. What was discovered was an approximately 600-year-old Buddha statue almost perfectly preserved.

Archaeologists Investigate the Buddha Head at the Hongmen reservoir

The statue was discovered at Hongmen Reservoir in the Nancheng county of Jiangsu Province. It is in this location that a nearby hydropower gate is under renovation, which led to the drop in water levels by nearly 33 feet or 10 meters.

Sitting against a cliff, the statue appears to be watching over the remaining body of water. Many locals believe it to be an auspicious sign. It might be so much more than just a statue though, archaeologists believe it could just be the tip of a buried treasure trove.

According to local history records, the reservoir may be located on the ruins of Xiaoshi – an ancient settlement. It’s likely that this large Buddha, which stands a whopping 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) tall, was the centerpiece of the village.

The statue itself is still surprisingly detailed given how old it is. It is estimated to be around 600-years-old dating back to early the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) but could go back as far as the Yuan Dynasty, making it even older.

So how is this possible? Well, Xu Changqing, director of the Research Institute of Archaeology of Jiangxi province, has stated that being submerged underwater has acted as a preserving agent. If it was exposed, it probably would have suffered weathering or oxidation damage but it’s almost perfectly preserved with the same detail that it would have had the day it was done.

The natural preservation isn’t just the remarkable thing about this statue, the fact that is also survived the country’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s when people were told to get rid of everything old, feudalistic and superstitious is also quite amazing.

According to Guan Zhiyong, a local official, this miraculously preserved Buddha statue was built by ancient people as a spiritual protector to calm the rapid-flowing current where two rivers converge.

When the Hongmen reservoir was built back in 1960, the statue was submerged. Local authorities were not aware of heritage protection at that time so the statue was completely ignored.

Today, however, the statue will be fully protected and once excavated, is likely to be placed in a museum for all to see in its full glory.

It’s already stirred up old feelings with Huang Keeping, an 82-year-old local blacksmith who said he first saw the Buddha back in 1952. There’s no doubt it will be bringing back lots of nostalgia for many others too.

The statue was submerged in 1960 when the Hongmen reservoir was built.

As investigations continue into both the Buddha statue, as well as the ancient settlement, there’s not much more than can be done.

Authorities are currently working on removal as well as preservation plan for the statue. For now, though, the best place for it is under the water! It’s lasted for over half a millennium so it can definitely last another few years until it’s possible to safely remove it. Until such a time, it’s possible to admire it from afar with all the photographs and videos that have been posted online.

China is home to several spectacular Buddha statues, not least this hidden one. Alongside this centuries-old wonder, China offers incredible Buddhist cliff and cave carvings such as the famous Leshan Giant Buddha, which is the world’s tallest Buddha statue.

Leshan Giant Buddha, china

900 year old ‘Grand Lady’ Skeleton Emerges from Watery Coffin

900 year old ‘Grand Lady’ Skeleton Emerges from Watery Coffin

In China at Tieguai Village Archeologists have discovered the remarkably well-preserved 900-year-old remains of a woman who was called “Grand Lady” and have found that a number of various and precious important objects have been found next to her skeleton.

The Grand Lady was buried with many interesting artifacts including this model of a wooden house

Perhaps the most profound of these grave goods was what looks like a model dollhouse that was filled with miniature furniture, Fox News reported.

A silver pendant was also retrieved from the Chinese tomb, displaying two dragons chasing after pearls. The name “Grand Lady” was found written on a banner on the upper side of the inner coffin, and the banner records that the woman, believed to be née Jian, once resided in Ankang Commandery.

Archaeologists who were involved with the research on this woman explained in their paper that she was still very much intact and that “the skeleton [of the Grand Lady] is essentially preserved, complete with fingernails and hair.”

Gold and silver hairpins were still on the Grand Lady’s head after 900 years and “there were silver bracelets on her arm and a string of bronze coins on her abdomen, 83 coins altogether.”

Archaeologists noted that “underneath her right hand were two zongzi [which are the remains of two sticky rice dumplings], and embroidered shoes were on her feet.”

900-Year-Old ‘Grand Lady’ Skeleton Emerges from Watery Coffin

Archaeologists also found that there were several paintings on the inner coffin that are believed to be of the Grand Lady, with each of these showing the woman wearing different attire and accessories.

The time during which she lived has been determined by the discovery of 200 bronze coins that were found buried with her, which were in circulation between 713 and 1100 CE.

Because of this, it is believed that the woman most likely died at some point after 1100 CE. This means that she would have been alive during the Song dynasty, which was a particularly good time in China for the arts, and when science and culture were at their peak.

Also found in the Grand Lady’s coffin were curious artifacts known as minqi, which are real-life objects that are created in miniature, much like the dollhouse that was discovered.

Besides the dollhouse, archaeologists also recovered 10 female figurines that were donning masks and performing different functions, including playing music on their instruments.

While another coffin was found close to the Grand Lady’s, which may have been a relative, this was found to have been severely looted, and very few artifacts were still left inside.

Excavation of Elite’s Tomb in China Reveals Sport of Donkey Polo

Excavation of Elite’s Tomb in China Reveals Sport of Donkey Polo

Legend tells the story of loyal horses, whereas it relegates their equine cousins, the donkeys, to the role of mere pack animals. But a new analysis of bones buried with a ninth-century Chinese noblewoman may help raise the status of the lowly ass: It may have served as her steed during polo matches in the royal court.

Cui Shi’s tomb with animal bones revealing evidence of the ancient Chinese nobles playing donkey polo. Inset: A skull of one of Cui Shi’s donkeys.

Sandra Olsen, an archeologist at the Kansas University of Lawrences, a museum of natural history who was not involved with the work said, “It’s about the time that donkeys get their proper recognition. She calls the new finding of their role in ancient sports “particularly exciting.”

The bricked-in tomb of a woman named Cui Shi, who, according to official records, died at 59 years of age on 6 October 878 C.E, a team of Chinese archaeologists from the ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty, Xi’an, excavated in 2012.

Left: map of the region of China where the tomb was found in Xi’an. Right: The epitaph from the tomb, confirming it is Cui Shi’s.

Murals on her tomb walls of workers preparing a sumptuous feast suggest she was of high status. Although looters had ransacked the tomb, they left behind a bevy of animal bones, including those of at least three donkeys.

Donkeys would have been a common sight in Xi’an in the ninth century. The bustling Tang capital was the eastern terminus of the Silk Road trade route, and donkeys were frequently used as pack animals.

But humble beasts of burden aren’t usually buried alongside elite members of society, says study co-author Fiona Marshall, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “Donkeys … are not associated with high-status people,” Marshall says. “They were animals used by ordinary folk.”

A donkey skull was found inside the tomb of a ninth-century noblewoman from present-day Xi’an, China.

One hint to why they were in Cui’s tomb, she says, may lie in the identity of her husband, Bao Gao. Ancient texts reveal that the polo-obsessed Emperor Xizong promoted Bao to the rank of general because of his skills on the polo fields.

Polo was wildly popular during the Tang dynasty—for both women and men—but it was also dangerous; riders thrown from their horses were frequently injured or killed. If a woman like Cui wanted to join a game, then riding a donkey—slower, steadier, and lower to the ground—might have been a safer alternative.

Polo was a popular pastime for women and men in China’s Tang dynasty, as seen by this figure of a woman playing polo on a horse.

When the researchers, led by archaeologist Songmei Hu of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, analyzed the size of the donkey bones in Cui’s tomb, they found that they were too small to have been good pack animals.

Computerized tomography scans of the leg bones revealed patterns of stress similar to an animal that ran and turned frequently, rather than one that slowly trudged in a single direction. Taken together, the evidence suggests Cui played polo astride a donkey, the researchers report today in Antiquity. The noblewoman’s donkeys may have been ritually sacrificed when she died to allow Cui to continue to play in the afterlife.

“There’s no smoking gun … [but] there’s really no other explanation that makes sense,” Marshall says, adding that the finding suggests Tang dynasty donkeys were held in higher regard than believed.

William Taylor, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who studies human-animal relationships, agrees the donkeys in the tomb were not simple pack animals.

But although polo-playing is one plausible explanation, he says, the biomechanical stress patterns may also match other activities, such as pulling a cart or milling grain. Still, if the researchers are right, Olsen says, “it is doubly rewarding than another underdog in ancient history, women’s sports, is also [getting credit].”

Chinese Boy Accidentally Finds 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Eggs

Chinese Boy Accidentally Finds 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Eggs

The Beijing Youth Daily revealed that a 9-year-old primary school student from Heyuan, South China’s Guangdong province, accidentally discovered what he suspected to be a dinosaur egg fossil while playing with his mom on the downtown riverbank.

Third-grade Zhang Yangzhe (pictured) made the extraordinary discovery while playing on the embankment of Dong River in Heyuan, southern China’s Guangdong Province

Huang Zhiqing, deputy director of the research department of Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, said they rushed to the scene with police after receiving the news.

A total of 11 “stone eggs” each about 9 centimeters in diameter were excavated, later verified as dinosaur eggs all dating back to the late Cretaceous age, according to the local museum.

Huang Zhiqing said houses were built at the place where the dinosaur eggs were discovered, so the soil softens as time flies. Dinosaur egg fossils that remain in good condition despite water and erosion are extremely rare.

Huang Zhiqing said the museum will organize manpower to clean and repair these dinosaur egg fossils. They will also find an appropriate time to re-examine and further excavate the abutment.

“Maybe we will discover new things,” Huang Zhiqing said.

Li said the child’s recognition of the dinosaur egg is inseparable from his education.

“Maybe because of the city’s environment, he is full of curiosity about everything related to dinosaurs,” she said, adding that he goes to libraries and museums to search for information he is curious about.

298 Million Year Old Forest Found Beneath Coal Mine in China

298 Million Year Old Forest Found Beneath Coal Mine in China

A tropical forest 300 millions of years old, has been preserved in ash when a volcano exploded in the north of China today.

The reconstruction of this fossilized forest is presented through a new study by Hermann Pfefferkorn, a paleobotanist from the University of Pennsylvania, which lending insight into the ecology and climate of its time.

Pfefferkorn, a professor in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science, collaborated on the work with three Chinese colleagues: Jun Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yi Zhang of Shenyang Normal University and Zhuo Feng of Yunnan University.

Their paper was published this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study site, located near Wuda, China, is unique as it gives a snapshot of a moment in time. Because volcanic ash covered a large expanse of forest in the course of only a few days, the plants were preserved as they fell, in many cases in the exact locations where they grew.

“It’s marvelously preserved,” Pfefferkorn said. “We can stand there and find a branch with the leaves attached, and then we find the next branch and the next branch and the next branch. And then we find the stump from the same tree. That’s really exciting.”

The researchers also found some smaller trees with leaves, branches, trunk, and cones intact, preserved in their entirety.

Due to nearby coal-mining activities unearthing large tracts of rock, the size of the researchers’ study plots is also unusual. They were able to examine a total of 1,000 m2 of the ash layer in three different sites located near one another, an area considered large enough to meaningfully characterize the local paleoecology.

The fact that the coal beds exist is a legacy of the ancient forests, which were peat-depositing tropical forests. The peat beds, pressurized over time, transformed into the coal deposits.

The scientists were able to date the ash layer to approximately 298 million years ago. That falls at the beginning of a geologic period called the Permian, during which Earth’s continental plates were still moving toward each other to form the supercontinent Pangea. North America and Europe were fused together, and China existed as two smaller continents. All overlapped the equator and thus had tropical climates.

At that time, Earth’s climate was comparable to what it is today, making it of interest to researchers like Pfefferkorn who look at ancient climate patterns to help understand contemporary climate variations.

In each of the three study sites, Pfefferkorn and collaborators counted and mapped the fossilized plants they encountered. In all, they identified six groups of trees. Tree ferns formed a lower canopy while much taller trees — Sigillaria and Cordaites — soared to 80 feet above the ground. The researchers also found nearly complete specimens of a group of trees called Noeggerathiales. These extinct spore-bearing trees, relatives of ferns, had been identified from sites in North America and Europe but appeared to be much more common in these Asian sites.

They also observed that the three sites were somewhat different from one another in plant composition. In one site, for example, Noeggerathiales were fairly uncommon, while they made up the dominant plant type in another site. The researchers worked with painter Ren Yugao to depict accurate reconstructions of all three sites.

“This is now the baseline,” Pfefferkorn said. “Any other finds, which are normally much less complete, have to be evaluated based on what we determined here.”

The findings are indeed “firsts” on many counts.

“This is the first such forest reconstruction in Asia for any time interval, it’s the first of a peat forest for this time interval and it’s the first with Noeggerathiales as a dominant group,” Pfefferkorn said.

Because the site captures just one moment in Earth’s history, Pfefferkorn noted that it alone cannot explain how climate changes affected life on Earth. But it helps provide valuable context.

“It’s like Pompeii: Pompeii gives us deep insight into Roman culture, but it doesn’t say anything about Roman history in and of itself,” Pfefferkorn said. “But on the other hand, it elucidates the time before and the time after. This finding is similar. It’s a time capsule and therefore it allows us now to interpret what happened before or after much better.”

The study was supported by the Chinese Academy of Science, the National Basic Research Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the University of Pennsylvania.

12,000-Year-Old Elongated Skulls Discovered in Asia Stun Experts

12,000-Year-Old Elongated Skulls Discovered in Asia Stun Experts

A new study has found that elderly people in China had a human head shaping about 12,000 years ago — meaning they bound some children’s maturing skulls, encouraging the heads to grow into elongated ovals — making them the oldest group on record to purposefully squash their skulls, a new study finds.

The skull is known as M45, the earliest known case of head modification on record. It dates to about 12,000 years ago.

While excavating a Neolithic site (the last period of the Stone Age) at Houtaomuga, Jilin province, in northeast China, the archaeologists found 11 elongated skulls — belonging to both males and females and ranging from toddlers to adults — that showed signs of deliberate skull reshaping, also known as intentional cranial modification (ICM).

“This is the earliest discovery of signs of intentional head modification in Eurasia continent, perhaps in the world,” said study co-researcher Qian Wang, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Texas A&M University College of Dentistry.

“If this practice began in East Asia, it likely spread westward to the Middle East, Russia, and Europe through the steppes as well as eastward across the Bering land bridge to the Americas.” 

The Houtaomuga site is a treasure trove, holding burials and artifacts from 12,000 to 5,000 years ago.

During an excavation there between 2011 and 2015, archaeologists found the remains of 25 individuals, 19 of which were preserved enough to be studied for ICM.

After putting these skulls in a CT scanner, which produced 3D digital images of each specimen, the researchers confirmed that 11 had indisputable signs of skull shaping, such as flattening and elongation of the frontal bone, or forehead.

The oldest ICM skull belonged to an adult male, who lived between 12,027 and 11,747 years ago, according to radiocarbon dating.

The M72 skull is between 6,300 and 5,500 years old.

Archaeologists have found reshaped human skulls all around the world, from every inhabited continent. But this particular finding, if confirmed, “will [be] the earliest evidence of the intentional head modification, which lasted for 7,000 years at the same site after its first emergence,” Wang told Foxnews.

The 11 ICM individuals died between ages 3 and 40, indicating that skull shaping began at a young age when human skulls are still malleable, Wang said.

An excavation at the site during 2010.

It’s unclear why this particular culture practiced skull modification, but it’s possible that fertility, social status, and beauty could be factors, Wang said. The people with ICM buried at Houtaomuga were likely from a privileged class, as these individuals tended to have grave goods and funeral decorations.

“Apparently, these youth were treated with a decent funeral, which might suggest a high socioeconomic class,” Wang said.

Even though the Houtaomuga man is the oldest known case of ICM in history, it’s a mystery whether other known instances of ICM spread from this group, or whether they rose independently of one another, Wang said.

“It is still too early to claim intentional cranial modification first emerged in East Asia and spread elsewhere; it may have originated independently in different places,” Wang said. More ancient DNA research and skull examinations throughout the world may shed light on this practice’s spread, he said.